Want to impress some new friends? Cook up some salmon — even if you don’t know how to cook salmon.
Telling people you’ll be making them a salmon dinner instantly elevates their dining expectations, turning a simple meal into something much fancier. And that point, you’ll feel like you’re on the hook to deliver a 3-star Michelin experience. But fear not. With a little patience, salmon is super-easy to bake to perfection in the oven, and no culinary degree is required.
Still worried? Try The Kitchn’s Foolproof Salmon Baked with Olive Oil and Herbs, which inspires love letters. The prep is simple and can take just a few minutes.
The key to its success is cooking the fish low and slow in a pool of olive oil. With lower heat and a longer cooking time, there’s a little more room for error and less worry about overcooking.
The recipe also provides a lesson on how to cook salmon generally. This is because you combine it with classic flavors, like dill and lemon, that pair well with the fish and each other.
You can use any size of salmon fillet you wish; just make sure to scale up the ingredients as the size increases.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit as you prepare the fish — there’s that low temperature. Select a baking pan that’s just large enough to hold the entire piece of salmon.
Pour olive oil over the bottom of the pan, then place the salmon fillet on top, skin side down. It’s going to look like a lot of olive oil, maybe even too much, but it’s going to help keep your fish tasty and moist even if you leave it in too long.
Season the fish with salt and black pepper to taste. Onward!
You’ll create a delicious and savory herb mix with dill, parsley and lemon, plus one shallot. If you toss all these into a food processor, you can chop and mix in one step.
Blend the herb mixture with olive oil until it achieves a paste-like texture. Spread the paste over the top of the salmon. This will impart flavor, of course, but it’ll also protect the fish from drying out as it cooks.
Pop the salmon into the oven, pour a glass of wine and take a break — it’ll take at least 20 minutes for the fish to cook through.
When the timer goes off, be sure to check for doneness. If the thick flesh at the center is tender and flakes easily with a fork, it’s good to go. If it’s still a little rubbery, or it takes some effort to get the fork in or out, give it a few more minutes and test again.
Once the fish is done, plate it up! Slice the fillet into portions, then gently lift each portion onto a plate with a spatula. Kitchn suggests serving this dish with a lovely green salad, along with fresh bread or rice on the side.
Of course, you can let your food fancy guide you — we can see this going well with a side of simply-dressed pasta or couscous, or some roasted cauliflower sprinkled with Parmesan.
Whatever you choose to serve with it, this salmon will be the star! Turns out you do know how to cook salmon.
Find the full recipe from The Kitchn here. And enjoy!
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